The head of the World Bank says for the first time in human history, it is possible to eliminate poverty around the world. Jim Yong Kim told a Washington audience Tuesday, he wants to make ending world poverty by 2030 a top priority for the Bank and governments around the world.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says the problems of poverty, hunger and inequality are massive, urgent and a matter of survival for millions.
"We know that despite the dramatic successes of the last decade, there are still about 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty, 870 million who go hungry every day, and 6.9 million children under five dying every year," he said.
But Kim told a Washington audience that previous successful efforts to cut the number of people mired in extreme poverty by half give him hope.
"We are at an auspicious moment in history, when the successes of past decades and an increasingly favorable economic outlook combine to give developing countries a chance - for the first time ever - to end extreme poverty within a generation," he said.
Kim says success will require accelerating economic growth, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
But he warned that civil unrest of the kind seen in the Arab Spring revolts could erupt if economic growth does not help people at all income levels, and also include women and youth.
Kim says the World Bank and other development agencies will need more resources to get this job done right.
"Meeting this 2030 goal will take extraordinary effort," he said. "But is there anyone, anywhere, who doubts that the reward will be worth it? Is there anyone who has lived on less than $1.25 a day who would not join me here today in telling you that it is time to end extreme poverty?"
However, Kim warned that all the progress in fighting poverty could be undone by climate disasters unless the nations of the world do more to stem climate change.